In 1923, teenager Kim Shun-Pei moves from Cheju Island, in South Korea, to Osaka, in Japan. Along the years, he becomes a cruel, greedy and violent man and builds a factory of kamaboko, processed seafood products, in his poor Korean-Japanese community exploiting his employees.
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A flawed film, but one that speaks to me on a painful and an intimate level. I have personally witnessed the lives of many older Korean men who internalized so much anger due to the sense of emasculation they felt at having lost their nation due to the Japanese annexation. Men who speak Japanese as fluently or better than Korean, who were never fully integrated into Japanese society...
One of my favorite Takeshi films. Couple of reasons: 1. Realism. As a Korean immigrant to Japan prior to WWII, Shun-pei had virtually no choice but to join the Japanese Imperial Army to "fight" Koreans. Namely, rape, kill, and pillage innocent Koreans. Horrors he witnessed from the war where he was forced to kill his own people, made him numb, ruthless and determined. 2. HIs will was forever shaped by history.